Engage 2020

Engage 2020

A new Princeton University Conference

Engage 2020

November 4 — 6

Register Now.



Join Princeton University online for an inaugural innovation and entrepreneurship conference November 4-6.

Engage 2020 is designed to bring together Princeton researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs with those who can accelerate their work and its impact.

In this three-day, immersive event, you'll :

Create your own agenda from more than 50 live sessions of relevance to academia, business and industry, Princeton alumni, entrepreneurs, investors, foundations and the intellectually curious.

Hear from Princeton’s researchers, inventors and entrepreneurs in fields such as energy and sustainability, bioengineering, art and architecture, and social impact.

Discover the possibilities for your company to engage with Princeton.

Learn about Princeton-related innovations and startup companies, New Jersey scientific research facilities, and Princeton Innovation campus partners.

Connect with the regional innovation ecosystem.

There is no fee to attend this multi-day virtual conference.

How It Works

1. Register for Engage 2020 NOW

2. Look for an email from Princeton Innovation in late October with instructions to create your personal conference experience. The full schedule of speakers and sessions will be posted on the conference platform.

3. Follow the instructions to set up your Engage 2020 profile and personal agenda in advance of the live online conference, November 4-6.

Engage 2020 will offer attendees a rich virtual experience through a customizable platform. In late October, we will open the conference platform and registrants will receive an invitation with instructions to set up a profile; build an agenda of live sessions; schedule private meetings with attendees; and visit exhibits.

We'll miss hosting you on campus. And the food and drink will be up to you. But virtual technology allows us to offer you a front-row seat to speakers from across the country and around the world. We look forward to your participation at Engage 2020.

On the Agenda

Among the featured speakers

Pablo G. Debenedetti

Tackling COVID-19: Princeton Pandemic Research and Solutions

Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti will lead a faculty panel discussing four Princeton-funded research projects focused on Covid-19 and the value of academic research as a driver of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Andrea Belz

Partnerships Perspective from the National Science Foundation: Invention to Impact

Learn directly from Andrea Belz, Division Director of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP) at the National Science Foundation, how angel investors and their portfolios can benefit from and support more opportunities for all. The IIP manages America’s Seed Fund powered by the NSF, the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps™), Partnerships for Innovation and Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC).

Andrea Goldsmith

Educator-Entrepreneur: A Personal Journey

Hear Princeton's Andrea Goldsmith, new dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering, talk about her personal experience as both a faculty member and technology entrepreneur and share her perspectives on innovation, entrepreneurship and leading Princeton's engineering school. 

Sam Wang

Partisan Politics: The Princeton Gerrymandering Project

Less than 48 hours after Election Day, Professor of Neuroscience Sam Wang and a student team will discuss their collaboration with Representable.org, a grassroots initiative that supports state- and federal-level reform efforts to eliminate partisan gerrymandering; and how their work provides tools to let citizens weigh in and become full partners in the process.

Marshall Brown

Moving Forward: Innovating Urban Mobility

In one of three sessions on threats to the world's urban centers, Marshall Brown, Director, Center of Architecture, Urbanism and Infrastructure and Associate Professor of Architecture. will join a panel of university, government and industry leaders on innovation in personal mobility in urban environments. They'll be looking at Newark, NJ as an example, with a focus on land use and community access.

Bonnie Bassler

Partnering for Patients: An Industry & Academia Collaboration Case Study

Learn how to create a successful collaboration, from two very different laboratories pursuing the same critical goal: developing treatments for severe unmet medical needs through science. Bonnie Bassler, the Squibb Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Biology, will talk in-depth about her lab's partnership with HotSpot Therapeutics and their joint pursuit of potential antimicrobial therapeutics targeting bacterial cell-cell communication.

David MacMillan

Accelerating Interdisciplinary Research: The Princeton Catalysis Initiative

Discover the power of industry partnerships in bringing academic research to life in this talk with David MacMillan, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry and leader of the Princeton Catalysis Initiative (PCI). An academic incubator, PCI builds dynamic connections well beyond the traditional realm of chemistry to accelerate interdisciplinary research, on and off campus.

Leonard Wantchekon

Diversity in Innovation: Perspectives from Africa

As universities grapple with inequity and the lack of underrepresented researchers in STEM fields, they rarely look beyond the United States. Leonard Wantchekon, Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and founder of the African School of Economics in Benin, will discuss with colleagues the rich innovation in Africa and by Africans in the U.S., in fields such as applied mathematics, statistics, biomedicine and economics.

Featured program tracks


For the entrepreneurially-minded

A robust slate of webinars, skill-building workshops and Princeton-related startup showcases will offer entrepreneurs and those who work with them an abundance of thought-provoking opportunities.


Mikko Haataja, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Luc Deike, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the Princeton Environmental Institute; and Craig Arnold, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

For faculty, researchers, companies, government, foundations and external partners

Get practical ideas from case studies and in-depth discussions of how Princeton researchers are working with external partners to advance research and have impact beyond campus in science, technology, social science, humanities  and social action.

Jean Schwarzbauer pointing to poster

Celebrate Princeton Innovation

This year, our annual event goes virtual, becomes part of Engage 2020, and features deep dives on seven faculty innovations and a Princeton-related company.


Princeton cleanroom

New Jersey Core Facilities Showcase

Now in its second year, the Showcase sessions and virtual exhibit booths will highlight research services and equipment offered by academic institutions from around the Garden State.

Lab researcher using hood

Data Science in Oncology and Immunology

In this in-depth workshop, industry partners and academic researchers will explore areas of mutual interest and identify potential collaboration in the areas of biomedical data science, computational oncology and computational immunology. 

Among the sessions you'll want to dive into

Global Pandemic vs. Venture Capital: How to Win

Emerging Investment Trends and Opportunities 

Powerful Partnerships: Microsoft + Princeton

Digitally-Enabled Research and Innovation: Collaboration with Microsoft
Elizabeth Bruce, Microsoft; Professors Jen Rexford, Jake Shapiro, Ned Wingreen, Princeton University; Richard Hay, Jr., Princeton Corporate Engagement and Foundation Relations

Venture Funding 101

Fundraising for Early Stage Startups
Jim Cohen ’86 and Mark Poag ’93, Fitz Gate Ventures

Overcome the Funding Hurdle

Funding My Clean Energy Startup
Andrew Hsieh *14, Feasible; Steph Speirs *14, Solstice; Angelo Campus '16, BoxPower; Elizabeth Washburn Surti '08 (moderator), Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation

Money Matchmakers

Succeeding at Securing Non-dilutive SBIR/STTR Funding for University Spinoffs and Advanced Technology Startups
Kirk Macolini, InteliSpark

From Student to Startup – Young Alumni Panel

The Path from Innovation to Entrepreneurship

In collaboration with the Keller Center

The Art of Social Change

Arts, Media & Social Justice
Indrani Pai-Chaudhuri '01

In collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts

Weather the Storm

Smart Cities: Water System Resilience

Climate Change + Coastal Threat

Environmental Resiliency: Sea Water Rise

In collaboration with the Princeton Environmental Institute

Message from the Vice Dean for Innovation

Thank you for your interest in Engage 2020. As Princeton’s Vice Dean for Innovation, and with wonderful colleagues across campus, I’m dedicated to helping advance the University’s mission of research and teaching through innovation.

As educators and innovators, we understand the value of partnerships and a strong network of resources. We welcome collaboration with partners in industry, education and the government. We also facilitate valuable connections that enable innovators to help transform ideas and discoveries into real-world applications. 

I’m continually inspired by the innovation and entrepreneurship culture in our University community, and I invite and encourage you to experience it firsthand at Engage 2020. Our hope is that Engage 2020 will spark your creativity, generate productive connections, and advance your journey of innovation. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in November.

Rodney D. Priestley
Vice Dean for Innovation

Conference Co-Chairs

Coleen Burrus
Corporate Engagement and Foundation Relations
Anne-Marie Maman, '84
Executive Director
Princeton Entrepreneurship Council

Join us

Register for ENGAGE 2020 NOW

There is no fee to attend this multi-day, virtual event.

Building a better future

Engage 2020 is presented by Princeton Innovation, an initiative of the Office of the Dean for Research, and was organized by the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council and the Office of Corporate Engagement and Foundation Relations. 

Programming support was provided by Princeton Innovation Campus Partners, including: The Office of Technology Licensing, the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education, Princeton Innovation Center Biolabs, gradFUTURES, the Princeton Catalysis Initiative and the Office of the Provost Institutional Equity & Diversity.